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Circle Carnival set to celebrate the end of summer in two-day format this year

By Kristy Koehler, September 6 2019—

Circle, a festival dubbing itself “the traveling food, beer and music carnival” returns to Shaw Millennium Park Sept. 13 and 14.

Produced by BassBus — a staple of the Calgary music and event scene — in partnership with Village Brewery and YYCFoodTrucks, Circle is in its sixth year. The festival is the epitome of an impactful partnership.

“All our businesses started around the same time and we were all very community-oriented, just in different ways,” says festival director, and CEO of BassBus, Baran Faber. “We just kept running into each other.”

Longtime volunteer Austin Campbell says he loves the community vibe Circle brings. 

“What I really love most about the event is how well it brings together and uplifts local communities,” says Campbell. He says that, during its third year, Mayor Nenshi attended Circle and gave a speech about the importance of the festival in empowering communities, something he said stuck with him and inspired him to continue volunteering.

This year, the carnival has expanded to a two-day event for the first time. Circle has previously been a one-day festival and in a different location each year. Faber says the scale that the carnival has grown to made it difficult to continue switching locations, and based on good feedback on last year’s location — Shaw Millenium Park — they decided to go with the same space.

Faber describes the event as “carnival meets music festival,” and says he’s worked hard to bring the music festival vibe to the city. BassBus travels often outside of Calgary, bringing their expertise to events like BassCoast and Shambhala.  

“We always travel outside of Calgary and we worked hard to bring that kind of vibe and that production and that feeling into the city but do it in a family-friendly way,” Faber says.

Jocelyn Alice is set to perform at Circle, along with Piranha Piranha, Freak Motif and Vanilla Disco to name a few. Official Circle after parties are being held at Hifi on Friday and Saturday night with an array of other music for dancing the night away.

“We’ve put a lot of care and attention into this lineup. It’s going to be really great,” says Faber, who recommends coming out with an open mind, even if you haven’t heard of all the artists on the roster.

In addition to music, there’s a massive ball pit with 30,000 balls, giant inflatables and a wiener dog race. Food trucks like Happy Fish, Zilford’s Fried Chicken, Family Dough and Fiasco, among many others, will be on hand to offer delicious and fast fare in addition to multiple bars serving Village brews.

There will be an Artisan Vending Village celebrating the best of what Calgary has to offer, featuring goods from local makers and creatives selling everything from festival wear to coffee to jewelry.

In addition to the added day of fun, also new this year are an adults-only evening on Friday and a cannabis garden — a partnership with FOUR20 — and a VIP Experience Pass offering entry, a custom cocktail bar, free snacks, private washrooms and a separate entrance. 

Tickets are $35 for Friday or Saturday only, or $55 for both nights. The VIP experience runs $100 for a two-day pass. Circle is offering Gauntlet readers 10 per cent off tickets with promo code GAUNTLET. 

Faber says the event is great for students, serving as a final celebration of summer.

“We time Circle very close to the end of the summer,” he says. “Often, it snows right after Circle. Students are coming back to school and this is kind of the one last hurrah before getting deep into it.”

Full details, schedule, lineup and tickets are available online.

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